The ASL is running again for another season to let us watch the highest level of play, the map contest is also underway to showcase the skills of our map making community, and in foreign BW, the CPL, BWCL and BSL are on-going.
Yet behind every single event, there are also people who work tirelessly to ensure everything is smooth, handle unexpected events (disconnects for instance), create and update tournament rules, communicate with the players and clan leaders etc...
But we rarely hear about those members of the community who dedicate their personal time and passion for those tasks, unless they reach out to us as players to ask for a replay or report your match score (don't be late submitting them folks ), so as a result I will launch a series of interviews with senior admins across the foreign scene to get to know them and their work better. It can hopefully shed some light on that part of the community and maybe motivate some of you to give admining a try.
And who to better start this series with than the BWCL CL superadmin of the past seasons, BSL admin, CPL caster and iRk admin : iRk-Camodaz!
Hello Camodaz, before we start with your admin job and career, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you started BW in the first place?
My name is CamoDaz (as you already know)! I hail from the UK, primarily play Zerg and am fast approaching 30!
I started out in BW around back in January 2020. I used to play SC2 back in 2011 and the itch to play an RTS was growing once more. After watching Artosis a bunch at the end of 2019 and watching some old ASLs/OSLs/KSLs etc, I decided I'd take the plunge and try to play BW. I came across CPL (Coach Pupil League) ramping up for another season and figured it was a good opportunity to learn and immerse myself in the community! From there, I became pretty involved in the scene throughout the pandemic and beyond, shifting between a bunch of admin roles across many leagues and iRk!
You also did a few casts for CPL, how did you get into that and what did you think of the experience? Would you have some tips for new casters?
Getting into casting was rather unceremonious! At that time I was competing in Rookie Star League (RSL) and a bunch of people were complaining that their games weren't being casted. I felt pretty bad and wanted to give everyone a chance to have their game in the limelight. However, I was still a bit anxious as to how a beginner caster would be received, so I held off. Eventually an admin told everyone that if they wanted games casted, they should take that initiative themselves. I took that as an open invitation and decided to try my hand at it!
Casting is definitely terrifying at first. While you may usually have a stream of conscious thoughts flowing in your mind, verbalising them is tricky. Add that with the pressure of knowing other people are listening to what you do and say, it soon trips you up! That said, when you really get into it and come across a golden replay or have a fantastic co-caster, it feels like the best expression of your passion there can be!
As for tips for new casters, I'd recommend having the building blocks of a story for every game. What is the size of the map? How might that affect the matchup? Are the players new or experienced? If new, what pressures might they face? How might a player's mentality be shifting throughout the course of a game?
I'd also recommend finding a caster who gels well with you and can cover areas you might not be as knowledgeable about!
How did you first become interested in admining and what was your first admin role?
Admining came about as part of wanting to give back to the community. After taking part in my first CPL, I realised how much the admins involved put in and how much pressure they were under. I wanted to be able to alleviate that pressure in any way possible, even if it meant doing something like recording match scores or chasing players for replays. After a bit of helping out in a few places, a few leagues gave me an opportunity to be an admin.
My first proper admin role was actually in CPL! I believe at the time Return was the only EU-based admin and there was a desire to recruit another to help ease the burden and maybe split EU teams from one to two. I was offered a place and gladly took it, trying to learn as much as I can from the legendary Return!
What were your first impressions about the role and that aspect of the community?
I realised being an admin very much fed into my desire for neatness and structure, so it was pretty fun in a nerdy way! Within admin circles it always felt like there was a consciousness of the pressure at hand. However, you also got a sense that everyone legitimately wanted to make things work and give players a good time, so it also gave a certain feeling of enthusiasm to deliver!
From the players themselves, I found people to be very pleasant. I think, like many, I'd heard horror stories of admins getting heavily criticised and sometimes vilified in esport communities, so I was pretty nervous I might be subject to a lot of hate. Thankfully that was never the case! I always got the impression everyone was thankful for having a community to take part and play in, so they were often very respectful! It was incredibly rewarding!
Tell us a bit more about your admin evolution after that first experience.
I think after the novelty of keeping stuff running wore off, my perspective shifted to one of trying to maximise efficiency. Originally I tried to be much too accommodating, letting deadlines slip far too much, or not giving a ruling in the hopes players would work things out themselves. After a while you realise that isn't really practical. Peoples’ time is precious and everyone dedicates a lot of their spare moments to a tournament or clan war. Sometimes you have to make a swift, firm decision in the interest of moving things on so progress can resume. It's not always popular, but I've found if you're open and honest with the people involved, they're usually understanding and willing to accept an uncomfortable compromise!
Can you detail what, if anything, makes the job different for a team admin in CPL and a squad leader in BWCL, and then being the superadmin?
CPL-wise, I always found that it was important to reinforce the goal of learning. Whereas it was always tempting to go by the numbers, to see if we have enough players to fill matchups, and hyperfocus on the team winning, you can't let that be your focus. You're dealing with people who have never played an RTS or a super competitive game before, or players who have been out of the scene for 10+ years and want to find their place in the game again. There's a very compassionate side to it. You want everyone mainly to be having fun, to view the matchups and filling of places or worrying about the win to be secondary. As a team admin, you take on their stresses while they focus on enjoying improving and playing BW.
For a squad leader in BWCL, your mind shifts more competitively. You still want people to have fun and get that exposure in a huge side of BW, but your mind is more geared strategically. You're looking at who you're facing on Sunday. What players do they have? Who do you have signed up? How can you match people to play to their strengths? Who is willing to face a tougher matchup? All the while you're conscious of motivating a team in face of setback and keeping people from burning out. Sometimes matches go very south and you have to be there to have someone's back when they tilt. You're constantly balancing organisation with the desire to win along with everyone's well-being.
As for a superadmin, you're very much more on the strategic level. You're thinking about the wider impact of decisions, or upcoming difficulties that need to be addressed. You're also very much in that space of delivering firm/fast/fair rulings in a way that is consistent with the league and precedent. Mix that with the regular issues that can rise in a clanwar and you juggle a lot! In a sense though, it is very much feeding into the core of being an admin. You're there to make the league work and help pave its future!
If you had to pick your one favourite aspect/experience and your least favourite/worst experience as an admin, what would they be?
My favourite aspect of admining is definitely setting up processes/structures and seeing them work. It's very satisfying to see something you theorise about with others come into play and work as you intend in a way that benefits everybody!
As for least favourite, it will always be when you have to make a tough ruling involving people you know. As you admin more, you recognise names, become familiar with the people behind them, and genuinely enjoy seeing them progress or move. When a difficult decision has to come about and know it will impact someone involved in a way they don't want, it feels tough. Ultimately, you have to make a decision that's fair and reasonable and sometimes, it's not going to be in everyone's favour. Again, I always found if you're open and honest about the situation, 99% of the time people are understanding.
What would you say is your biggest achivement? Do not be modest ;p
Man, I hate writing about acheivements! I'd say getting BWCL into gear with Baal has always felt like something great. BWCL has been a core event for many clans, so to take the torch from the previous admins and keeping it pumping to provide that space for the community definitely warmed my heart. I'd also say helping out with BSL Choboleague has been something to make me smile. BSL is such a huge presence in the scene and I'm glad I could help out in some way!
Thank you After all this time and various roles, are your current impressions on the job very different from your initial thoughts? In what way?
I'd say they're different in some ways, but still similar in others. My thoughts/impressions have been and always will be that helping keeping the particular organisation/league running and its participants happy is paramount. Your ego should never come into such matters. You're not there for a power trip. You're there to make everyone's lives a bit easier and hopefully enjoyable.
In terms of how they differ, I'd go back to how I thought admins would be viewed. I've learned that the vast majority of people are incredibly respectful, whereas at the beginning, I thought it might be a role where everyone is out to be difficult/disrupt things. There are definitely days when it feels like that, but they're the exception rather than the rule!
What would you say are the thing that most players do not know about admins but that they perhaps should?
Admins are very aware of everyone's emotional state! While a decision might seem abrupt and cold, believe me, there has been a lot of discussion about how it will impact people and what residual feelings there will be off the back of it. We always try to consider everything from everyone's angle.
Would you recommend admining? And if so what would you say to people who are contemplating admining, or just even to the players and the scene in general when it comes to admins?
I'm biased, but of course I'd recommend it! It's a fantastic way to give back to BW and the community. While what I've described might sound intense at times, it's honestly a great experience. You'll grow yourself while getting to be a part of something that will have a positive impact on people!
If you're contemplating becoming an admin, but are unsure if you want to fully get involved, speak with an admin and see if there's any way to get your feet wet with small activities. As you go on, slowly help out with a few more things until your mind is made up!
Thank you for your time and insight, do you have any shout outs or final words?
My pleasure! Shout out to you, Baal, of course! Always been one of my greatest friends in the scene and a source of endless encouragement, even when I'm not at my best! I'd like to shoutout CPL as being a great place for new and existing players to build their skills! Also all the BWCL admin team and lastly Agge for giving me many opportunities in the scene! Thank you!
It was a great pleasure starting out this series with Camodaz, he is retiring from his admin duties and this is a great loss for the scene, but we (at BWCL) are immensely proud and grateful of his efforts and achievements over the past seasons. Hopefully you folks find this enlightening too, and if anyone wants to make some banner (or memes, I made a poor attempt to break the wall of text) please ping me!